University of Virginia President Jim Ryan and Vice President for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Kevin G. McDonald today announced the University’s adoption of an initiative known as “Inclusive Excellence,” a model that will advance the critical role that diversity and inclusion play in UVA’s ability to reach its highest aspirations as a public institution.
“Inclusive Excellence is this notion of really meaningfully connecting our inclusion, equity and diversity efforts to our true organizational pursuits of excellence,” McDonald says in a video conversation with Ryan about the initiative.
“We can’t even hope to achieve organizational excellence in this day and age unless inclusion is part of that discussion,” says McDonald, who came to UVA in August from the University of Missouri system, where he led diversity, equity and inclusion efforts and led the process for a similar framework there.
“Diversity and inclusion aren’t in tension with excellence,” Ryan says in response, “but instead, are a means to excellence.”
In an email to the University community Thursday introducing the “Inclusive Excellence” framework, Ryan and McDonald describe diversity and inclusion as “among our most important responsibilities and our highest priorities as we aim to make our institution both great and good.”
The Inclusive Excellence model for organizational change has been a national movement in postsecondary education since 2005 and calls for higher education to address diversity, inclusion and equity as critical to achieving excellence.
These themes of diversity, equity, inclusion and excellence are embedded and interwoven throughout the “2030 Plan,” UVA’s strategic blueprint for the next decade, which sets forth a vision for making UVA the best public university in the country and one of the very best in the world, public or private.
In their community message, Ryan and McDonald said the Inclusive Excellence framework “rests upon the simple foundational principle that excellence and inclusion go hand-in-hand, and that you cannot have one without the other.”
The model addresses access, curricula, infrastructure, scholarship and community partnerships. It encourages goal-setting across different contexts – from access and hiring to organizational culture – and it encourages the use of metrics to measure progress.
“This framework will help focus inquiry, action and accountability across Grounds as we strive to make the University a place where all can feel at home and do their very best work,” Ryan and McDonald wrote in their introductory message.